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Special Report: Abu Musab Zarqawi

| 8 Comments | 16 TrackBacks

A Winds of War Special Feature, by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis

Over the last six months, claims of a tie between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime have centered around an infamous Jordanian national named Ahmed al-Khalayeh, who operates under the nom de guerre of Abu Musab Zarqawi. Yet some European and even American intelligence sources question the designation of him as an al-Qaeda operative, instead citing Zarqawi as the leader of an independent terrorist organization called al-Tawhid. The issue of Zarqawi's affiliation is a crucial one, as it goes to the heart of the recent debate over whether or not the Bush administration fabricated a link between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime in order to justify its case for war.

This analysis will endeavor to show readers who Zarqawi is, what he's been up to, and his critical importance to the post-Afghanistan al-Qaeda network....

To begin with, after 9/11 Zarqawi was not listed as one of al-Qaeda's top leaders unlike such notables as Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Mohammed Atef. Indeed, after reading several books devoted to the organization, only one, Rohan Gunaratna's Inside Al-Qaeda contains even a mention of Zarqawi in a list of half a dozen other senior operations chiefs still at large.

As a result of his relative anonymity, it would have been easy to overlook Zarqawi's terrorist activities prior to 9/11. He first appeared on the intelligence radar as an al-Qaeda leader during the Millennium Plot, in which he has been named in absentia as a conspirator under his real name. In the aftermath of the plot, he traveled to Afghanistan and assumed command of an al-Qaeda training camps near the Afghan city of Herat which oversaw the training and indoctrination of both Jordanian and Palestinian recruits for the organization. While al-Qaeda maintained numerous training camps in Afghanistan, Zarqawi's presence at the camps near Herat is particularly concerning because this is exactly where the group was said to have established a nuclear laboratory focused on creating a radiological dispersal weapon during the late 1990s.

During Operation Enduring Freedom, Zarqawi fled to Iran with other top al-Qaeda leaders, where he was harbored by members of the IRGC. From Iran, he oversaw the operation of an al-Qaeda affiliate organization called al-Tawhid, an al-Qaeda affiliate that has a Eurasian reach extending into Germany, Karachaevo-Cherkessia (a Russian autonomous republic that borders Georgia), Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinian expatriate community.

Zarqawi left Iran in May 2002 for Iraq and while the Newsweek article cited above statements that he was expelled, Michael Ledeen attributes a far more sinister motivation behind the actions of the Iranians, citing a ferrying of al-Qaeda operatives in Iranian to Hezbollah's Bekaa Valley or Ein al-Hilweh. The ample evidence of al-Qaeda fighters arriving in Lebanon, in my opinion, would seem to support Ledeen's view in this regard.

While in Iraq, Zarqawi evidently ordered the assassination of US diplomat Laurence Foley in Amman. It is interesting to note that one of the two killers working for Zarqawi was a known Libyan extremists, as this could indicate a tie between Zarqawi and al-Jamaa al-Islamiyyah al-Muqatilah bi Libya, al-Qaeda's Libyan affiliate - yet another sign of just how high up he is within the organization. US Secretary of State Collin Powell summarized Zarqawi's activities in Iraq during his February 2003 speech to the United Nations. Zarqawi's deputy Moammar Ahmad Yussef, evidently oversaw the killing from Syria but was subsequently detained either in Syria or Turkey, thereby providing the US with critical information regarding al-Qaeda's ties with the Iraqi regime.

In any event, Zarqawi evidently did a lot of traveling, going from Iran to Baghdad to northern Iraq to Lebanon to Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, where he appears to have laid the groundwork for al-Qaeda's thwarted chemical weapons plots in Europe between December 2002 and February 2003. These attacks, which appear to have been primarily orchestrated by the organization's robust Algerian expatriate wing that I noted in a previous special analysis. For the purposes of the plots in Europe, Zarqawi apparently worked closely with Abu Khabab, the head of al-Qaeda's WMD program, which was on the verge of chemical and biological arms production. Other Zarqawi associates identified by US intelligence include Abu Taisir, Abu Ashraf, Abu Atiya, and Abu Hafs, all of whom are still at large.

The attacks in Europe, had they succeeded, would have likely killed hundreds of European civilians and my own personal inclination is that they constituted an attempt by the organization to carry out mass casualty attacks in Europe in order to deter US military actions with Iraq, further radicalize Muslim expatriate populations in Europe, and possibly convince the European governments that interference in al-Qaeda's activities in the Middle East was not worth the lives of their citizens. And according to the State Department's 2002 Report on Global Terrorism, Zarqawi also sought to attack US and Russian targets as well.

At some point before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Zarqawi fled to Iran, where he remains to this day. Most recently, he ordered the attack on Jewish and Spanish targets in Morocco.

The bottom line is that Zarqawi is clearly a rising star within the al-Qaeda hierarchy and has planned mass casualty terrorist attacks on three continents. So long as he continues to operate freely he will continue to target Western, Jewish, and moderate Arab governments. Claims that he only maintains a peripheral relationship with al-Qaeda, such as those made by an anonymous source in this Washington Post story simply do not square with the information available to the public, which demonstrate a robust relationship between Zarqawi and the global al-Qaeda network.

16 TrackBacks

Tracked: June 30, 2003 7:11 AM
PROFILE OF ABU ZARQAWI from Heretical Ideas
Excerpt: In response to the fallacious claims made in the Washington Post and elsewhere that Abu Zarqawi is not part of al-Qaeda, Dan Darling has put together an extensive article and link-list of everything publicly known about him and his relationship...
Tracked: June 30, 2003 5:43 PM
Excerpt: There is a interesting write up on one of the men who provides evidence of links between Iraq and Al Qaeda over at Winds of Change. It's an interesting read if you want to understand the complicated web of relationships...
Tracked: June 30, 2003 7:11 PM
Who Is Abu Musab Zarqawi? from Electric Venom
Excerpt: And why is it important that we know? Over the last six months, claims of a tie between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi regime have centered around an infamous Jordanian national named Ahmed al-Khalayeh, who operates under the nom de guerre of Abu Musab Zarqawi...
Tracked: July 2, 2003 9:38 PM
Primer on Zarqawi from Triumph Over Terror
Excerpt: Who is Abu Zarqawi? Is he a major player in Al Qaeda or was his role as the "missing link" between Iraq and bin Laden's network inflated by the Bush administration? That question is addressed by the Winds of Change...
Tracked: July 3, 2003 12:08 AM
Excerpt: A terrorist we'll here even more about, unfortunately. (Great biography at Winds of Change though.) [Listening to: The End Of Medicine - The New Pornographers - Electric Version (2:37)]
Tracked: July 14, 2003 5:21 AM
The Iraq Al Qaeda Connection from Sgt. Stryker's Daily Briefing
Excerpt: First Instapundit linked to this story (and then by John Hawkins, Joe Katzman, etc.) written by Judge Gilbert S. Merritt in Iraq working to help build a new Iraqi judicial system. Judge Merritt is in possession of the Nov. 14, 2002 edition of an Iraqi...
Tracked: August 19, 2003 6:01 AM
Primer on Zarqawi from TECHNOSPONGE
Excerpt: Who is Abu Zarqawi? Is he a major player in Al Qaeda or was his role as the "missing link" between Iraq and bin Laden's network inflated by the Bush administration? That question is addressed by the Winds of Change...
Tracked: October 14, 2004 1:11 PM
Quick Blog Watch from On The Third Hand
Excerpt: Dean's World has an interview with Swift Boat Veteran George Elliott. Winds of Change has an in-depth look at Abu Musab Zarqawi Iraq the Model tells how Iraqis are fighting back against the kidnappers. Salam Pax is coming to the US.
Tracked: October 18, 2004 5:40 AM
Why They Deny from the fourth rail
Excerpt: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Is he a member of al Qaeda, as the United States government claimed prior to the Iraq war, or is he an independent, freelance terrorist working in competition with Osama bin Laden? The question is not merely...
Tracked: November 7, 2004 7:12 PM
Dispatches from Fallujah from Brain Shavings
Excerpt: The Green Side posts e-mails from a Marine just outside Fallujah who's girding up to go in. It's compelling reading, and I'll be stopping by frequently while following the coming battle in the news. An excerpt: Once again, we are being asked by citizen...
Tracked: May 11, 2005 10:50 PM
Operation Matador in Northern Iraq from Winds of Change.NET
Excerpt: As most of you know, allied forces are sweeping through the north of Iraq near the Syrian border, and finding it surprisingly well fortified as they chew through their objectives. We have the roundup.
Tracked: May 12, 2005 3:24 AM
The War on Terror from CrosSwords
Excerpt: One of the justifications for the war in Iraq was that it was part of the overall war on terror. The Captain asks Will Iraq be Al-Qaeda's Last Stand? and then justifies that position based on information coming out of Operation Matador The end is int...
Tracked: May 29, 2005 6:36 AM
al Qaeda in Iraq: Next in Line from Winds of Change.NET
Excerpt: The Times Online reports Zarqawi was seriously wounded after he fled the battlefield during Operation Matador. According to an 'insurgent commander'; “Shrapnel went in between the right shoulder and his chest, ripped it open and...
Tracked: June 3, 2005 8:45 PM
Zarqawi Rumorline: Dead? from Winds of Change.NET
Excerpt: Zarqawi is rumored to be dead and buried in a cemetery in Fallujah.
Tracked: June 8, 2006 1:41 PM
Zarqawi killed in Iraq from The Glittering Eye
Excerpt: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most active terrorist in the world, was killed by a bombstrike in Iraq today: BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and...
Tracked: June 9, 2006 3:15 PM
Death of Zarqawi from Legacy Matters
Excerpt: He chose his targets with an almost diabolical cunning, destroying the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad (and murdering the heroic envoy Sérgio Vieira de Melo) almost before it could begin operations, and killing the leading Shiite Ayatollah Hakim ...

8 Comments

Concerning Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; it is difficult for me to understand how it is that the Iraqi people allow this murderer to continue to kill innocent Iraqui's, at his leisure. Maybe the Coalition Forces cannot easily find this person in Iraq; but, it is likely the Iraqi's could find this person (if they wanted to find him) if he is in Iraq.

Now that some Clerics in the Middlre East are starting to speak out against these murderers, the people might now start to react in a different manner to this violance. It would be nice to see the affected people turn their rage towards those responsible for murdering their loved ones as opposed to dancing at the death site of foreigners.

I realise there is a hugh difference in how I think versus how I perceive the typical muslin thinks; but, if my child was innocent and wound up murdered on a Baghdad street, I probably would devote the remainder of my life to tracking down the Zarqawis of the world.

How many innocent loved ones need to be murdered before the Iraqi people do something about this situation?

Thank you for allowing this comment.

Thank God that someone is finally publishing some useful facts about these thugs. This page is a blessing. To everyone else: Any of the stupid useless spoiled idiots out there who have protested our government's military involvement in Iraq, and who believe that we should show lenience to terrorists on the premise of tolerating religious diversity, should be tied to a chair and FORCED to watch the video of these cold-blooded murderous bastards beheading Nicholas Berg. THESE ANIMALS WANT TO KILL ALL OF US, YOU PIG-HEADED MORONIC NITWIT RABBLE-ROUSERS. Shut the hell up and let the U.S. government do its job, or the next person they slaughter might be YOU. Do you think if we give them a group hug and a speech about diversity, they will stop killing? THIS IS HOLY WAR: "JIHAD". They will NOT STOP until they themselves are stopped with lethal force, or until they kill every last infidel-and that means you.

agree with gomez, except for the one size fits all name calling. sounds like one battle hardened warrior, could have used him in viet nam- perhaps standing in for bush, cheney, karl rove, or even limbaugh. the caveat is, i agree with the premise that the terrorists are not very nice,hugs not weapon of choice. lethal force is indeed the ants pants; john kerry pretty clearly buys that idea also. in fact, its a no-brainer, as opposed to a zero-brainer- which fits perfectly going after terrorists in iraq, number 20 as state sponsor of terrorism and no quaeda with possible exception one not in saddam's turf- zarqawi, and can anybody put me on reference to our military plans to snuff the guy but rejected by bush so z could be used as evidence qaida connection to saddam? anyhow, Iraq had lots of muslims for u.s. bombs to kill-and just before they got liberated, damn it!- resulting in best recruiting tool Osama could have prayed to allah for. dumb. and does the place look more like viet nam every day,or what? and does anybody want to bet 1k cash american whichcandidate for prez obl REALLY is rooting for? thanks for listening, or reading or whatever- obviously this is one of my first trips into web comment land, any critism welcome and any hints on how to and problems/rewards with starting a blog would be welcome also.

What do you bet the capture of Zarqawi is the "Oct. surprise"?

They have been building him up since he was "identified" as being the Berg beheader in the ugly video.I have watched as he is raised to the demon level of Bin Laden. Has anyone noticed he takes credit for nearly every major attack against the coalition or Iraqi forces and police, but at the same time another group is doing the same. I suspect he has long been killed or captured and that all his p.r. is created by our own psy-ops boys. I expect the capture or killing of this leading terrorist will be announced in the next several days as a major victory in Bush's war.

What do you bet the capture of Zarqawi is the "Oct. surprise"?

They have been building him up since he was "identified" as being the Berg beheader in the ugly video.I have watched as he is raised to the demon level of Bin Laden. Has anyone noticed he takes credit for nearly every major attack against the coalition or Iraqi forces and police, but at the same time another group is doing the same. I suspect he has long been killed or captured and that all his p.r. is created by our own psy-ops boys. I expect the capture or killing of this leading terrorist will be announced in the next several days as a major victory in Bush's war.

What do you bet the capture of Zarqawi is the "Oct. surprise"?

They have been building him up since he was "identified" as being the Berg beheader in the ugly video.I have watched as he is raised to the demon level of Bin Laden. Has anyone noticed he takes credit for nearly every major attack against the coalition or Iraqi forces and police, but at the same time another group is doing the same. I suspect he has long been killed or captured and that all his p.r. is created by our own psy-ops boys. I expect the capture or killing of this leading terrorist will be announced in the next several days as a major victory in Bush's war.

ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI: IRAQ VAMPIRE OR BIGGER TERROR FISH?

There is recent intelligence suggesting that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is believed to be in charge of al Qaeda's European operations division. While it is believed that he escaped the coils of OP ANACONDA in Afghanistan and, ultimately, made his way into Iraq, his actual participation in the beheading videos remains unconvincing. It is highly plausible that the kidnappings and beheadings were attributed to this operative to enhance his shadowy nom de guere, to elevate his mythical status to aspiring Mujahids, lay the foundation for recruitment and training of operatives, and deployment of trained warriors, thereafter, to European cells for active duty in forthcoming TERROROPS. Assuming Mr. Zarqawi did, in fact, move into Iraq on the heels of ANACONDA's dismal failure, and oversaw kidnappings and beheadings as an insurgency operation, it remains highly unlikely that he remains in the theater. Intelligence operations underway surrounding the assault on Falluja may provide further information as to his whereabouts but all information thus far appears to suggest Mr. Zarqawi is, generally, off the IC's official scope.

However, the meteoric rise of Mr. Zarqawi may be calculated to divert attention from UBL and/or from Mr. Zarqawi's presence elsewhere, e.g., near ROME, as it is widely suspected that the next two European targets are ROME and VIENNA.

It is more likely that Mr. Zarqawi made his way out of Afghanistan into the the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, e.g. Darra Adam Khel, Bara, Teera, and Waziristan. The dominant tribal presence in these areas remains Pashtun and "milmastia" (Code of Hospitality) is strictly adhered to. He would be safe and uninhibited in terms of travel throughout the province. Upon arrival in this area, Mr. Zarqawi would have made contact with UBL or, possibly, did so in Rebat, a well-known smuggler's bazzar at the center of the Devil's Triangle--where Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran conjoin. These movements would have enjoyed the broad protection of among others Pakastani ISI operatives. It is well known that UBL is in this general area, probably in Dir in the Malakand Pass, the site of some of the fiercest battles under the British Raj, and where an old army fort is occupied by Maulvi Sufi Mohamed, a revered Muslim scholar. The location of UBL has, actually, been well published in the frontier's "shabnamas" or 'night letters' and even on the front page of the Daily Ummat (8/10/03), the leading Urdu language newspaper in Karachi. U.S. C.I.A. has been dropping leaflets there, in Pashtu language, offering a $25 Million bounty, believing (irrationally) that Muslims may capture or kill the revered leader of the Mujahadeen for the bounty. Obviously, the total pricetag for such an act of treachery to Islam is both cruel and permanent (including eternal damnation) and it is highly unlikely there will be any takers.

The way to Dir has been reported to contain bodies of some 'would be' bounty hunters, cast in the pines along the dirt roads, stripped naked, obviously tortured, castrated, their eyes plucked out of their sockets, their ears hacked off, and their tongues ripped out of their mouths. Reportedly, taped to the groins of these victims are notes saying--"Do not be angry or shocked, these are the bodies of agents of the USA."

Anyone crossing into this area via the some 680-mile border between Afghanistan and Pakistan would confront a large contingent of some 20 Million Muslims who inhabit the area. Foreigners are not welcome and severed heads are reportedly used from time-to-time in local soccer games for those unwise fellows who wander into the provice.

The location of Mr. Zarqawi may be highly important and if he is, in fact, in the North-West Frontier this may portend ominous potential consequences.

There are reports to suggest that in the wilds of this North-West Frontier, scientists from Russia, Pakistan, and China have trained and/or are training 'suicide bombers' in the means of detonating Special Atomic Demolition Munitions (SADM's)--20 of which were probably sold by the Chechyn Mafia to UBL for $30 Million in cash and 2 tons of grade four heroin with a street value in excess of $700 Million. (See London Times 8/16/98, Marie Calvin, "Holy War with U.S. in His Sights"; Newsbrief, Jerusalem Report, 10/25/1999; "Report Links bin Laden Nuclear Weapons," Al-Watan al-Arabi, 11/13/98; Emil Torabi, "Bin Laden's Nuclear Weapons," Muslim Magazine, Winter 98) News of this sale was transmitted to the U.S. C.I.A. by the Russian Federal Security Service.

Additional SADM's beyond the 20 have probably been purchased by UBL as well. It is believed that UBL obtained a total of 48 SADM's over a span of several years. (See: "Al-Majallah Obtains Serious Information on al Qaeda's Attempts to Acquire Nuclear Weapons," Al-Majallah, 9/8/02) Mossad has reported that al Qaeda purchased up to 15 kilograms of uranium-235 in March 2001 from Semion Mogilevich for an additional $75 Million. (See: "America's War on Terror: Part III: Bin Laden May Have Small Nuclear Bombs," DEBKAfile, 10/12/02, http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=319; Robert Friedman, "The Most Dangerous Mobster in the World," Village Voice, 5/22/98)

It is inconceivable that Mr. Zarqawi evades any and all detection by tasked KEYHOLE satellites, SIGINT, HUMINT, and other intelligence operations. If reconcilations-by-convenience by and between the Sunni's and the Shia's are overstated, it is unclear how Mr. Zarqawi could, likewise, evade a "dropped dime" from within the camps of Muqtada al-Sadr and Ayotallah al-Sistani prior to the Falluja assault now in progress. This "adds" to the mythical and shadowy reputation being developed around this nom de guere, as he purportedly severs living heads with knives to the chants of Mujahadeen, on film, and, thereafter, disposes of headless corpses in and around Baghdad, all without a hint at detection? The more "plausible" scenario is that Mr. Zarqawi is simply not in the theater and is elsewhere.

As Yasser Arafat's demise appears likely, the next attack that most all expect may be in the final operational planning stages. The recent UBL video released by Al Jazeera has not been fully released and the very release itself is not possibly distanced completely from notions that it set wheels in motion as a coded order from the revered leader of al-Qaeda. Motivational factors appear to be coming into a troubling alignment. Falluja is under assault. The widely expected next attack is unlikely to overlook entirely--in terms of the motivations that move al Qaeda to act, a chief stated objective by this group--the first Crusade and conquest of Jerusalem in 1099 and the date of NOVEMBER 27, 1095--the date Pope Urban II ordered Christian Knights, assembled in Clermont, into what culminated at Jerusalem in 1099. Where it is widely believed that ROME may be the next European target, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is reasonably believed to be in charge of al-Qaeda's European TERROROPS; where his highly probable recent and/or possible present location gives suggested pause as to a potential indicator as to the 'nature' of the next attack; it may be the case that the meteoric rise of Mr. Zarqawi is related to the psychological impact that is intended with the next possible attack.

Everyone should keep their eyes and ears focused carefully on any information pertaining to the present whereabouts of and present activities by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. While he may yet emerge from the smoke and fire of Falluja, it is more likely that he has been and continues to be elsewhere and this may indicate what is coming and where. It would not be surprising IF this purported Vampire of Iraq would reappear on video in another horrible beheading production to divert attention FROM his true whereabouts and his possible real TERROR objective.

______________________________________________

FN-1/ (See: The recent, excellent work by Dr. Paul L. Williams, "OSAMA'S REVENGE--THE NEXT 9/11", 2004, Prometheus Books, New York ISBN 1-59102-252-5) I relied heavily on Dr. William's work for this scenario.

I thank you for your comment.

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